Published on: May 15, 2023
If you are disabled and unable to work, you may have arrived at this page wondering if you are entitled to pursue disability benefits – and if so, how soon you might be approved for those benefits. These are understandable questions to ask. Being disabled can create tremendous financial stress, and most disabled individuals want to do everything they can to relieve that stress. Ultimately, how long it will take for approval of benefits will depend upon a variety of factors.
What Types of Disability Benefits Are Available?
The Social Security Administration offers two types of disability benefits, and which type you qualify for will depend upon your particular circumstances. Those benefits include:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): SSDI benefits are for those who have a disabling condition that prevents them from working, and who are “insured” – meaning that they worked a qualifying job for a sufficient length of time, through which they paid a portion of their salary into the Social Security System.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Unlike SSDI benefits, those who receive SSI benefits do not have to be insured. Instead, they must have little to no income and a qualifying disabling condition that prevents them from earning an income.
Together, with the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney, you should decide which type of benefits you might qualify for and prepare an application for disability benefits to be submitted to the Social Security Administration.
What is the Process for Approval of Benefits?
Typically, upon receiving an application for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will send that application to a state agency with medical and vocational experts. The designated agency will review your application and the evidence you present and will contact your medical providers, if necessary, to obtain additional records. You may also receive forms to complete, and the Social Security Administration may request that you undergo a medical test or evaluation. You will not be required to pay for a requested evaluation, but you will be expected to attend.
How Long Will the Process Take?
Usually, it takes between three and five months to receive a decision from the Social Security Administration on your initial application for benefits. This timeline is just a general estimate, however. Some people are approved in as few as 30 days after applying, while others wait a year or more. Ultimately, the time it takes to issue a decision will depend upon how long it takes to obtain medical evidence and other records, how many cases the Social Security Administration is handling at the current time and a variety of other factors.
After receiving the initial decision on your application, you will be able to decide which steps you might want to take next. It is important to realize that often, many applications are not approved the first time they are submitted. This doesn't mean that you will never be approved, and you should not allow it to discourage you from continuing to pursue the benefits you need and deserve. If your application is denied initially, you should consult with your attorney and determine how you want to proceed.
There are generally two steps that most applicants take following an initial denial of benefits. These include:
- Reconsideration: If the Social Security Administration denies your initial application for benefits, the next step is usually to file a request for reconsideration of that decision. Generally, it takes about three to four months to receive a decision on the request for reconsideration.
- Appeal: If your initial request for reconsideration is denied, you may want to pursue an appeal. Doing so will mean that your case will ultimately be sent to an Administrative Law Judge, who will review the evidence presented on your behalf, and render a decision either affirming or overturning the initial SSA decision. The appeals process can take slightly longer than the other steps of the process – generally anywhere from six months to two years.
While these estimated timelines are intended to be helpful, they are certainly no substitute for the advice and guidance of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney. The law can be complicated, and you need a legal team on your side who can ensure that you fully assert your rights. At Disability Experts, we’re here for you.
Disability Experts – Disability Advocates Here For You
If you are struggling with a disability, you need the freedom to focus your time and energy on properly treating your condition and enjoying life with those you love. The last thing you need is the worry and stress associated with navigating a complex legal process and fighting for the benefits you need and deserve. Instead, you can leave those matters to the talented and experienced team of advocates at Disability Experts. We know and understand every aspect of the process of pursuing disability benefits, and we’ll fight for you each step of the way. If you’re ready to get started, give us a call. We look forward to speaking with you soon.